So you’ve got lactose intolerance?

So I got asked about lactose intolerance the other day, So I decided to get back to my Nutrition roots and give you guys some good quality knowledge on the topic. In our modern world, food intolerance’s are common. I personally have a gluten intolerance, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have any gluten.

Lactose is one of those slightly confusing intolerance’s, and there are actually some dairy products people with lactose intolerance’s can handle. Lactose is basically the sugar that is found in milk. Find out what lactose intolerance is all about, and why we have intolerance’s

 

What is lactose?

So lactose is basically the sugar (carbohydrate) that is found in milk. It’s in cows milk, breast milk, basically anything that is produced by the mammary glands. Lactose is made up of two smaller sugars, glucose and galactose. To be able to digest lactose, our body needs to be able to break the lactose down into the two smaller molecules, and the enzyme that’s in charge of this is lactase. Unfortunately some people don’t have enough lactase, or have it in very small amounts. This determines how much lactose can be digested. 

How do I get lactose intolerance?

This can be a genetic predisposition for less lactase, and some cultures haven’t got as much of the enzyme as others. The other way people develop lactose intolerance, is through gut infections or illness. So, in the gut what usually happens is the lactose is consumed, then the lactase breaks it down in the small intestine. But for people who don’t have enough enzyme, the lactose passes through the small intestine into the colon, where it is broken down by naturally occurring bacteria. This produces gas, which in turn cause bloating, and gastrointestinal upsets. 

So what kind of foods is lactose in?

Lactose can be found in most dairy foods, such as milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheese and butter, in varying amounts. Below is a table showing the amounts of lactose in decreasing quantities. So what many people with lactose intolerance find, is that they have a limit to how much lactose containing foods they can eat. My suggestion would be to stick to the foods lowest in lactose, rather than foods with high amounts of lactose. 

                     Image source: http://lactosesintolerances.blogspot.com.au/

So what can I do about lactose intolerance?

Well the easiest thing is to simply eliminate all lactose containing foods from your diet, and replace them with non-lactose alternatives. Below I have created a simple table for some alternative foods you can try to replace your favorite lactose containing foods.  

 

Image source: National dairy council

If you think you might have lactose intolerance, or an intolerance of another kind, the best thing to do, is go and see your gp, naturopath, or nutritionist and get it diagnosed. I found out I was slightly gluten intolerant by doing a simple elimination diet, which was recommended by my naturopath. 

 

What are your dairy free alternative suggestions? I would love to hear them below!

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